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Is Social Media Responsible For Jeremy Corbyn's Change In Fortune?

01/06/2017 12:53 BST | Updated 01/06/2017 15:22 BST

What have grime star JME, anarchic songsters The Libertines and the definitive youth football media brand Copa90 got in common? They're all part of a media revolution that's happening now - in your pocket - and one that has arguably played a powerful part in Labour's changing fortunes.

It's been a tempestuous, bruising election campaign and, while blunders and U turns have jostled for headlines, there's been a quiet revolution going on. It's been happening in front of our eyes, mainly on our small, addictive smartphone screens - for the first time in UK political history, young people are being included in the political conversation.

Politicians have always courted the young and looked to be at one with the masses. Kissing babies' heads had been a political pastime long before Blair took the man-o-people thing to a new level - remember his keepy-ups with Kevin Keegan and Cool Britannia chardonnay with Noel Gallagher? But MPs' common people ways were always played out through the mainstream media of the the middle aged - the BBC, ITV and more recently Sky News.

Now the most thrilling final legs of this election battle are being played out on a very different media battle-field to the one during that last era of New Labour and the shift could prove to be historic on June 8th - young people are no longer the observers of politics, the ones on the sidelines, they're part of the discussion and debate. The sands are shifting and it's Corbyn's election journey that is leading the way.

The Labour leader's first foray into this brave new world was a Snapchat recorded brunch with grime artist JME. The articulate JME asked relevant and direct questions about the motivation of even registering to vote and Corbyn replied simply and spin free, positioning his policies in a framework that suited young grime fans. It was a pointed, engaging and compelling piece.

Far from just staying in the Grime fan echo-chamber, the social video spread into mainstream news, popping up on the BBC via youth media mainstays like GRM Daily and staying in heavy rotation in editorial via recommendations on You Tube and in Snapchat Discover - effectively the new digital home of magazine culture.

Today Corbyn's popularity is still growing and, despite a disastrous Woman's Hour interview, polls are now predicting a hung parliament. It seems strange to think that, less than a fortnight ago, the Labour campaign was lagging so far behind the Conservatives that campaign managers sent Corbyn out on stage at a Libertines concert in Tranmere in a 'we've got nothing to lose' kind of way. It was a huge success. Now arguably a fading star, The Libertines were the anarchic NME darlings, Pete Doherty and Carl Barat ignited a generation combining punkish riffs and high energy nods to the four chord records of yesteryear with poetic lyrics about our lost 'Albion'. From grime music to indie music in under a week, from digital video to huge live audiences, Corbyn had stumbled on a sophisticated and powerful media map.

Then last weekend, the definitive youth football media brand Copa90 interviewed the Labour leader at Hackney Marshes. Billed as 'Corbyn and Chill', the interview snaked around such subjects from 'Wenger In or Wenger Out', the influence of grime music on the British youth, and comparing a possible Labour victor to Liverpool's unlikely turnaround of the Champions League final in Istanbul. This script resonated. It means something to a Gen Z audience. Poet and Vuj are the masters of accessible interviewing, breaking down every possible parameter and convention by creating a relaxing, fun environment in which interviewees divulge information outside of the normal media straightjacket. This video now lives on You Tube and Facebook and will be disseminated across multiple digital places and locations. There is no political statement to be made again, instead this is about making politics relevant to a disaffected, disenfranchised youth who are accused of apathy but are often anything but.

We're in new world. A new era. But often what gets forgotten is how to operate this new media space with sophistication and skill. It might be that Corbyn's campaign HAD to try something new, they HAD to try something different but it's working and what is emerging is a more modern blueprint of harnessing true influence in the UK right now. What an exciting time we live in.